As goaltender Michael Houser entered COVID protocol on Friday, the Buffalo Sabres appear to be out of options when it comes to a starting netminder. The team is in quite a bind and will need to find a quick resolution, as they travel west soon and kick off a three-game road trip in Arizona on Saturday night.
Houser’s entry into COVID protocol is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events.
As a reminder - not that you need one - here’s what’s going on with the Sabres’ other goalies:
- Aaron Dell (12 games played): Suspended for 3 games, can return Feb. 10.
- Craig Anderson (6 games played): Has been out since November 7 with an upper-body injury. He has returned to practice recently and was a full participant on Thursday, with the hope that he could serve as back-up over the road trip.
- Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (9 games played): Injured reserve.
- Malcolm Subban (4 games played): Season-ending upper-body injury.
- Dustin Tokarski (14 games played): Recovering from post-COVID. He’s back with the team and was hopefully going to join them on the road trip, but it doesn’t sound like he would play.
So... what happens now? Your guess is as good as mine.
The options in Rochester are slim, and either would require a signing. Mat Robson is on an AHL-only contract. Charles Williams is on an ATO. It wouldn’t be fair to rush Anderson or Tokarski back into the starting role if they’re not fully recovered and ready, and at that point, you’d also probably be risking further injury. Dell is out for the next three games, no matter what. Do you sign someone from Rochester and just hope for the best? (The Amerks are also scheduled to play two games this weekend, both at home, so they would then need to find someone.) What are your other options at this point?
There’s a lot of moving pieces here and things can change quickly, so keep a close eye on the news over the next few hours to see what happens.